Christine Nagel, Hermès’ in-house perfumer, is not one to give up easily. When she was researching for the latest fragrance — Un Jardin sur la Lagune — for the Maison, she came across a forum with chatters of a very private and secret garden in Venice, Italy.
The Garden of Eden — not the Garden of Eden – is named after its English aristocrat owner, Frederic Eden. The garden is permanently closed to the public, but Christine had wanted to experience and see it for herself, to be inspired by the magic of life there.
When her many requests to visit the garden was denied, Christine finally wrote to the president of the foundation that manages the garden. Lo and behold, her last plea was granted on 22 December.
And on 4 January, Christine finally set foot on the property.
“I can’t explain what it was like when I first walked in,” she told Vogue. “It was very unkempt and to begin with it almost looked like nothing special, but as you walked around and discovered the different scents it was apparent to me this would be the basis of my fragrance”
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After the first visit, Christine went back every month for a year, to experience the first-hand cyclical changes in the flowers and plants. Because the garden is located in Venice, it also means the scent of the blooms are affected by the salt in the soil.
Bringing together the “sweet and pregnant scents of nostalgia without sadness, of rebirth, a feeling of eternity,” the result — after 18 months, from conceptualisation to creation — is a delightful blend of Madonna lily, orange blossom, magnolia and jasmine.
And what emotion does Christine hope to evoke with Un Jardjn sur la Lagune?
“A perfume lives only if it’s being worn by someone,” she told The Cut.“If your emotion is not the same as mine, that’s okay. I just want this perfume to touch people. A lot of people dream about perfume. I’ll never forget that. It’s often the first object someone buys from Hermès.”
The Un Jardin sur la Lagune comes in 3 EDT sizes: 30 ml, 50 ml and 100 ml. Available at all Hermès boutiques.